Ayo Arise, a governorship aspirant under the platform of All Progressives Congress ((APC) in Ekiti State has stated that there nothing to worry about interest of the former governor and Mines and Steel Development Minister, Dr. Kayode Fayemi ’s to join the July 14 governorship race.
Fayemi had given a strong indication that he would seek re-election even though he is yet to declare formally.
The Minister said he was waiting for the Independent National Electoral Commission’s official approval before kick-starting the race.
Speaking with journalists in Ado Ekiti on Monday, Arise said: “the statement that all other aspirants are not law abiding is not good enough. Those of us who have declared are not law breakers.
Arise, former Senate Committee Chairman on Privatisation, however said that the Minister should have portrayed other contenders who had expressed interest in the plum job as law breakers.
Specifically, the ex-legislator said the actions of other APC lawmakers have not contravened any provision of the Electoral Act and insisted that no law prevents Fayemi from declaring interest earlier than he did, since such would only be restricted to the premises of the party secretariat.
“Politics requires calculation and I want to believe that he (Fayemi) only tried to conserve money, stay in government and observe the politics as it played out before declaring. This in itself is wisdom.
“So, I see those who had declared earlier as mobilisers. My brother, Dr Fayemi is welcome wholeheartedly but I am only worried that someone was trying to come out to play smart.
“We have nothing to fear provided the primary is free, fair and credible, so that our party can be peaceful and united to fight this battle,” he concluded.
He said he quite understood that the Electoral Act 2010 as amended provided that aspirants can only campaign 90 days before election, saying the declaration of intent was not an open campaign but a mere mobilizing steps by any party member to shore up the party’s popularity.
Arise said the statement credited to Fayemi that he decided to tarry a while in declaring for the governorship to prevent him from flouting the INEC Electoral Law only portrayed those who had earlier declared as lawbreakers, rather than being commended for mobilizing for the party.
He said he could not afford to break the law as a serving Minister under a government that has enormous respect for the Rule of Law.
“Fayemi is the leader of the party. We are not unaware of the provision of the law. It could have been more dignified if the Honourable Minister had said he was coming late because of his status as a serving Minister. It is not good for him to have portrayed all of us as not law abiding.
“However, we welcome him into the race. He is a leader of our great party and the primary I think will be interesting.
“But this is an election we must win and nobody should try to ascribe wisdom to himself. And I will advise him not to use or do anything that would make him look smarter than all of us,” he advised.
Making further clarification on the provisions of the law, Arise said: “INEC only give guidelines to checkmate violence and a party is not duty bound to wait for INEC before mobilizing. So, I expected him (Fayemi) to have eulogized us for mobilizing for the party,” he stated.
Reacting to whether Fayemi expression of interest in the governorship race may alter the permutations, the former Senate member added: “I don’t envisage any problem, all of us are eminent Ekiti indigenes.
“We have former governors Fayemi and Segun Oni, Senators Babafemi Ojudu , Gbenga Aluko and myself and Opeyemi Bamidele as former member of the House of representatives in this race. So, I see all of us as being qualified to be governor.
“We have one or two things to show that we have contributed to Ekiti .
However, if you put us on the scale, I don’t see anyone who has the kind of record I have,” he argued.